Galvez apologizes over COVID-19 vaccine shortage in Visayas, Mindanao

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 16 2021 06:54 PM

Galvez apologizes over COVID-19 vaccine shortage in Visayas, Mindanao 1
National Task Force COVID19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez during an inspection inside the Mall of Asia in Pasay City on May 24, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The head of the Philippines' COVID-19 vaccine inoculation strategy on Wednesday apologized to local government units over the shortage in vaccine supplies especially in the Visayas and Mindanao. 

Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. said areas in the provinces with a high number of active COVID-19 infections will be given additional supplies with the arrival of more vaccine doses this month.

“Mayroon tayong formula. Gagawin natin, idi-disburse ang vaccines. Tingi-tingi, makaka-receive lang ng 200 to 300 per municipality. Dahil limitado lang ang vaccines, kailangan i-concentrate sa epicenters. Humihingi ako ng pasensya sa mga LGU,” Galvez told reporters during the kick-off of San Miguel Corporation’s vaccination program in Mandaluyong City.

(We have a formula. We will disburse vaccines and distribute these little by little. Each municipality will receive 200 to 300 doses. Since our vaccines are limited, we need to concentrate in epicenters. I apologize to our LGUs.)

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“Our plan is revolving, it depends on the situation," he added.

For the month of June, the country expects the delivery of 11 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, of which 4.3 million vaccine jabs have already arrived, according to Galvez. 

Of the 6.7 million doses yet to be delivered, 25 percent will be allocated to Mindanao and another 25 percent for the Visayas, while the bulk of the vaccine supply will be split among regions in Luzon, he said. 

"Hindi fixed 'yan. Depende sa sitwasyon... Percentage formula nagbabago depending on the attack rate and dense population,” Galvez explained.

(This is not fixed, it still depends on the situation. The formula changes depending on the attack rate and dense population)

The vaccine czar reiterated that the government did not neglect Visayas and Mindanao in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, adding that these are based the allocation on the government’s risk assessment.

“Yung densely populated areas. Mayroon tayong nakikita na ang epicenters ng COVID mula 2020 hanggang ngayon yung NCR+8,” he said.

(The COVID epicenter is still Metro Manila and the 8 other areas)

“May commitment sa NCR, mine-maintain ang mabilis na pagbabakuna 100,000 a day. Hindi iiwanan yun.”

(We committed to the NCR, and maintaining the vaccination to at least 100,000 a day. We will not abandon it.)

VACCINE SUPPLY

The country still has limited COVID-19 vaccines, amid delivery delays. 

But Galvez said the vaccine supply would normalize by July and August.

“Limitado pa ang mga vaccine. Pagkadumating na sa July-August, mabibigyan na lahat… 1.5 million Sinovac bukas (Thursday), 1.5 million Sinovac [sa] June 24. COVAX, 2 million [AstraZeneca] and donation ng US June or July,” he added.

Based on the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group's monitoring, the country has so far received 12.7 million COVID-19 doses as of Saturday. 

These are the following: 

  • 7.5 million doses Sinovac (59%), of which 6.5 million doses were procured by the government and 1 million were donated by China
  • 2.56 million doses AstraZeneca (20.1%), all through COVAX
  • 2.47 million doses Pfizer (19.4%), all through COVAX
  • 180,000 doses Sputnik V (1.4%), all procured by the government

The developments came as areas outside Metro Manila continue to record a spike in infections.

Since the vaccine rollout on March 1, nearly 7 million doses have been administered (6,948,549), and 1,879,694 individuals have been fully immunized.

The country has so far tallied more than 1.332 million COVID-19 cases, with over 23,000 deaths. 

- Report from Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News